A family property later converted to a hotel, Dheeshana Ameresekere; the Managing Director of The Theva Residency Hotel is a pursuer of dreams. After her Bachelor’s degree specializing in International Marketing and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Travel Industry Management from the states of Hawaii and Washington D.C USA, Dheeshana moved back to the mighty land of the lion people. Commencing her career at the Hilton Colombo and thereafter at Taru Villas – Park Street Hotel giving her monumental exposure and avid training that led her to run her own, The Theva Residency Hotel & The Theva Cuisine Restaurant, in the rich kingdom of Kandy. A hotelier by profession, working in the hospitality industry brought her immense contentment. She stated “It’s a blessing when your career and passion are the same because you get to do what you love.”
Apart from being an exceptional hotelier, Dheeshana is also a Hatha Yoga teacher (RYT 200) and Yogic Lifestyle Counsellor. Having studied under the tutelage of Swami Divyanada Ma of Internal Yoga, USA, her special focus and expertise is sound bowl healing and therapy. Sound therapy with Tibetan singing bowls is an ancient form of regeneration. The sound of Tibetan singing bowls and the gongs harmonizes and allows deep relaxation of both sides of the brain, it stimulates stress relief on all levels and the elimination of toxins from the body. Spirituality is a broad concept with room for many perspectives. In general, it includes a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves and it typically involves a search for meaning in life. As such, it is a universal human experience—something that touches us all.
Nestled in the slopes of the Hantana Mountain range, The Theva Residency is a true calling for admirers of nature! Presenting breathtaking views of Sri Lanka’s ancient city; promising peacefulness, serenity, and romance. The humble team at the hotel is ardent in creating a more holistic approach in offering guests’ a place to rejoice in their experience towards nature compassionately. By “Redefining luxury”, the hotel works in sync with nature attentively providing a soulful experience that focuses on one’s mental and physical health creating a more emotional connection. The atmosphere of the Hotel heavily emphasizes the significance of “The mountains are calling and I must go, to refresh my mind, body, and soul”
Dheeshana began her hotel career by acquiring the necessary skills in different aspects of the hotel. This led her to respect and have an understanding of how every staff member contributes towards the success of the hotel. From cleaning various floors, waitressing, cashiering, to finally owning her hotel, she has respectfully come a long way as a great hotelier affixing value to the industry and doing exceptionally well in leading her team.
When questioned of how the hotel managed to endure the Global Pandemic, Dheeshana stated being mindful amidst the Covid-19 situation, Theva Residency has taken necessary steps to work in harmony with nature in providing a refreshing yet soulful experience focusing more on guests’ mental, physical and emotional wellbeing taking into consideration the drastic effect it had on many people’s jobs, some employees, unfortunately, lost their jobs during a difficult time whereas some were fortunate enough to continue their work from the comforts of their home. Dheeshana is determined in thinking out creative motives and maintaining the teams’ wellbeing during such a strenuous period. This efficacious mindset led to supporting various Hantana community projects by cleaning roads and neighborhoods, the team at Theva Residency also works closely with the T.E.A project – Children’s Empowerment Centre in Hantana, supporting the children with food, clothing, and other educational requirements, as they are subjected to very limited resources. The talented team at Theva Residency launched a song written and sung by them called ‘Ekvemu Lanka’ inspiring rise from the crisis.
Dedicated to the practice of using seafood as the only source of meat in a diet that is otherwise vegetarian, the Theva Residency is the first “Meat Free Boutique Hotel” in Kandy. Catering to the pescatarian diet the hotel began to cultivate their very own garden of fruits, vegetables, and organic herbs allowing the kitchen team to curate a more nutritious menu supplying immune-boosting foods and juices. The successor states she believes it may be the first meat-free boutique hotel in all of Mother Lanka.
Sri Lanka is bestowed with rich history, culture, and natural resources, Dheeshana states enriching these resources is distinctive and would ensure the hospitality industry is prepared to tackle any given situation coming forth. Sri Lanka is reputed worldwide for hospitality because our social orientation hinges on a tradition of care and empathy. Often, Sri Lankans are credited for their warmth and friendly nature, and inevitably this has had a positive association on the nation’s hospitality industry. Whilst in the past our hospitality industry has managed to sustain itself on the Sri Lankan smile, our progressing reputation and of course positioning, as a high-end travel destination calls for a service standard that goes beyond amiability. Given that the situation is ever-changing and we aren’t entitled to foresee what the future holds, rebuilding our local tourism and industries is an opportunity for our community in becoming self-sufficient economically.
When questioned about the global hospitality trends Sri Lanka should prepare for in the years to come, Dheeshana enlightens us on how amidst the current global crisis we are to reflect on understanding and re-interpreting what luxury is. Blessed with natural healing resources deeply rooted in our culture and various traditions, recognized for our Ayurvedic medicine and treatments gives us the forefront in positioning Sri Lanka as a leading global wellness destination. “Luxury today would mean offering guests a safe and warm stay focusing on their health and emotional wellbeing.”
In conclusion, as a female director in the Hotel Industry, Deeshana never looked at it from the perspective of gender norms. She continues to focus on working with love in her heart, respecting and being of service to all, stating this has been the success of her journey. The Theva Residency continues to passionately create a meaningful yet emotional experience in the beautiful hills of Kandy.
“I believe that success is never something you achieve alone, it is a collective effort of every single person who supported you in some way, on your journey to achieve to position you are in today.”